Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Real Challenge of Raising a Young Man: part 1

The chicks are gone for the school year; the mancub remains.

Attention now diverts to things of the boy: no longer are purses and hairbands and teabags left about....we now have enormous shoes, muscle milk cartons, chunky CS Lewis volumes, sheet music and sweatshirts strewn about. He takes up more landscape physically than the girls. The sound that surrounds him is less chatter and debrief, and more grooveshark and youtube.

It's easier now to see him as an adult than a child. I recall this turning point with the girls - we upped the tempo of Woman Training towards the end of high school - realizing our time to influence them and impart skills was limited. I remember feeling challenged as a woman to also train a woman, as if some judgemental spotlight would shine down on my laundry pile or burned casserole and shout "INSUFFICIENT! Who are you to role model as a wife?"

It feels different with my young man. Who I am as a woman, role-modeled for him, seems more about character than accomplishment. Is this because the Man Stuff is taught by his dad, and I couldn't begin to teach checking oil, changing tires, and fixing a leaky faucet? Perhaps. Or maybe it's because I think all of those things take lower priority than setting his appetite for the good stuff of the heart that cannot be learned on Food Network or TLC.

Should he desire a wife who is pleasant and charming? Somone who is not lazy and selfish? Shall he value gentleness and rich humor? Will he feel at home with a woman who serves her family with joy? Is it foreign or familiar to be met with kindness instead of sarcasm? Is the dinner table conversation noble, good, pure and edifying, or is it an exchange for gossip and slander? Does the heart of the home - the mother - bless or stress others? Is our homelife something he'll want to emulate... or flee?

The real challenge of raising a young man is not combatting his clutter or taming his volume. It'd be far easier to settle for a "101 Things to Teach Your Son" checklist than it would be to examine my own example! Teaching him how to aerate a lawn or demoss a roof would be much simpler than turning the spotlight on my behavior.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,

whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it
into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (
Phil 4:8-9)